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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Ups and Downs of 2013

Gracious what a year it has been.  I shall not tell a lie and say it was a fully enjoyable one, but shall also admit there was some very happy times had here at Muse Cottage. It of course being the last day of 2013 causes one to reflect back as well as look ahead and looking back , the year held so many ups and downs, as well as many twists and turns and going back and forth... enough metaphors? *giggle*  Yes, it was indeed just like a roller coaster ride!! 

In late 2012 we got the keys for Muse Cottage, of course we had not named it as of yet, we barely had time to breathe in the month of December of that year having a whirl wind month of finding this house, at last winning a bid for it against all odds and two cash investors, getting new funding, as our other funding having fallen out from under us in October, and moving out of an apartment we had only been in for just around two months and moving in here. Muse Cottage started out just as a way to own a home we could afford and no longer have to rent. It was by no means perfect, in fact with only one bathroom, only two bedrooms, located on a very busy corner in a city we had never planned to live in and in an area that many would shy away from, not to mention a yard that was far too big, it would seem we had given up all our wish list and just settled. That was hard to come to terms with. However as time went on, and we started to put our own touches on things, from adding a driveway, then a fence and soon a lovely garden to the front, to tweaking a few interior things as money and time allowed, we soon adjusted and yes, accepted that this was now home. I would not say it will ever be my dream home or dream location but I am learning to bloom where I am planted so to say. 

We were still in the beginning stages of getting settled in when tragedy hit our family. The husband of our middle daughter took his own life in late February. Having only been married since mid June, it was not anything we had ever considered would happen. There was many circumstances that came to attention as to the cause of this horrific happening , to be learned only after it had occurred. Like many who have gone through such a thing, we had no real warning , but then again looking back there was more than likely signs that we all missed or cared not to see or believe. It happened and we can not dwell on the what ifs. The aftermath and all that it held for us, our daughter and our life in general was not anything any of us were prepared for or could prepare for, and all these months later, we are still learning how to deal with day to day life, never forgetting and yet needing to move on and perhaps past it. It once again taught our family to cherish what and who is near and dear and to let go what is not. If one could find a star, a bright light out of the darkness that would be it. 

During that time, and actually just prior to what had happened, I was coming off of a bad chest infection that had left my body weakened. I also was battling extreme iron anemic issues due to some female health issues, that I had been having issues with since 2011 and am still battling. It left me vulnerable to other infections and I managed to get a bladder infection. Having had them before I knew the drill and went to get medications and rested a lot as I healed. I thought I was gaining back strength and some of my health, but I guess with all the stress of what had occurred that was not the case.  I awoke one day, a couple of months later, with my belly swollen to the size of being 6 months pregnant and unable to use the restroom though the pain told me I certainly needed to. Being alone, with my husband at work and not knowing what to do as we did not have insurance and this "attack" being something I had never experienced before, it was all day till finally I broke down and had my husband, once he was home from work, drive me to a clinic. I shared that night, and the aftermath with you in a blog post, so I shall not go on in detail, but for those reading for the first time or that missed that post, I shall say this it was like no bladder infection I had ever experienced and had come about with none of the normal culprits having been the cause. I was given the normal medications, which brought none of the normal relief. I could neither sleep nor sit for the pain I was in. I was prescribed new medications every few days with no change. I finally went to yet another clinic and got on stronger medication. Eventually it worked, but many of the symptoms remained. Through out the Summer months I was in and out of the clinic and on and off the medications. Mothers day, fourth of July, my Birthday, our wedding anniversary, and right on through till my Mother's visit in September, I suffered with no answers. I would get brief breaks, and then be in pain again and then that just meant more pills. The last time there was no bacteria, no reason for the symptoms. I decided to take my care into my own hands and researched natural treatments, and began to take supplements and make diet and life changes to help in the process. I got a lot of flack from certain readers but many more were supportive and I am happy to say, that with all the changes and supplements I am nearly symptom free since the end of September. Of course that is only three months and I still am always waiting for that other shoe to drop, but I am hopeful that I can gain some of my life back. I still do not go to movie theaters, and I know where all the bathrooms are , caffeine is a once a month indulgence, even decaf rarely happens. Chocolate, well, we do not get along either. Wine, past the two time in the last several months that I shared here does not pass my lips either... though I shall be toasting tonight, just a sip or two. Just the fact however that I can leave the house for walks now and sleep partially through a night and sit through an entire tv show is great improvement. 

Also during this time, we began to convert the garage and adjoining storage room into a living space for our middle daughter, and it was completed, as I shared with you in July, right in time for independence day. My daughter was happy to have her own little space in which to start the healing process and we were happy both for her being so close but also to have the construction, that had put all that more of a strain on all of us, over and done with.  The month prior our oldest daughter and her husband chose to move back to Texas, deciding it was the best path for their life to take.  The month after we helped our youngest move closer to us, from one apartment to the next. Soon after that we also were informed that my Grandmother had lung cancer. Life was hitting us with more and more changes and it was overwhelming at times to say the least. It seemed we could not count on what was to in store for us from one day to the next. 

In 2013 I went through more than just changes in my health. With a lot of time on my hands and a lot of stress being carried around in my shoulders, a lot of alone time as well, I decided to make some changes. I made had to make changes in my clothing, much of what I had been wearing, much of it making lovely nods to the era between the 1920's and 1930's was not something I could wear while convalescing at home on the couch. Comfort was key. So I traded in my cloches, my longer skirts, and mary jane pumps and opted for a more every day causal look. Oh those things all still reside in my closet just waiting for an occasion, and perhaps it will come and perhaps it will not... I have never been one to stick to one style of dress for very long before craving to recreate myself. I got rid of my nails, put away the pearls and make up past a lip gloss and some facial cream was something of the past. I reveled in playing in the dirt in my new garden, something that brought great joy and comfort to me while being ill. I could fight through the pain if I could get lost among the flowers. 

Another change that happened this year, and had many ups and downs was my hair length!  I started off last December with chopping off my 1920's "Louise Brooks" bob to a stylish pixie cut. New House, New Year, New "do". Not very 1920's mind you, but easy to manage. However before long I began to miss my signature bob that had been with me for about two years at various lengths.. having cut it all off when we lost our cherished dream home and moved to an apartment, grew it out as I discovered who I was at that time and what I wanted to show to the world through my style, cut it off again during a very bad bout of depression, and then grew it out again. Seems my hair goes up and down with how I am feeling about myself and my life at the time. It is the easiest change. Sometimes it reflects to the very depths of me without me saying a word. Chopping off the hair can mean I am happy and free, confident and other times it is the only thing I can control an so I implement that. Anyway, last year at this same time I had a pixie, then as the health issues compounded I grew my hair out again... once more my bob was back, but not the lovely raven colored locks of before, in their place sat strands of dull brown, muted silver and pure white. As the strands go longer I fell out of love with them quite quickly. SO, on Halloween I chopped them all off. This time it was freeing! As my daughters said "this suits you now", and it transformed me inside and out. Suddenly I craved to wear make up again, I got my acrylic nails back on, I started spritzing perfume on and I even bought a pair of ankle high "biker" style boots. I was transforming once again. 

During this transformation, and if you have been reading this blog over the years, you know I go through many of them, my thoughts and interests turned back to a love I had of all things magical and whimisical. Perhaps it was because life as I knew it was anything but, I suddenly craved it. So along with my wardrobe the blog changed in how it looked and what I was posting, I also changed my facebook page as well. Here at the blog, I started sharing my inner child and the faeries that reside there, along with goings ons here at Muse Cottage and I also began to go back to the time in which I shared my inner most thoughts more so, as well as my truths. I shared my love of nature, and beauty and added a touch of whimsy for good measure. That same theme followed suit over at FB. Gone were the vintage starlets of yesteryear that once occupied the posts and for the most part the old photos from that bygone era as well. I became and the page became centered on light, love, happiness, beauty of nature, inspiration and dash of pixie dust and to my amazement, when I thought the changes may bring a demise of the page, it instead grew. Nothing much changed here at the blog, as far as comments or followers, and it took a decidedly back seat to the FB page,  but I was pleased with the direction it had all gone and the path I was currently taking with my activities on both. 

Muse Cottage continues to transform as well. The garden gets tweaked with the seasons, the decor has a few more faeries added to it, and currently the one and only bathroom is getting a face lift... something I shall hopefully be able to share with you very soon. We have more plans for Muse Cottage as time, money and effort allows and I am sure it will transform and go through many ups and downs right along with all who reside within it's walls. I do so hope that all of you who continue to visit here with me from time to time will enjoy what I have to share, be it a new change in hair styles, changes in wardrobe, a new flower bed, an occasional adventure, or simply just whatever musings that come to mind and that no matter what ups and downs happen in 2014 you will take the journey with me, and know it brings me great comfort and strength to know that you are doing so. 

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